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Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Pudding Cookies

2015 February 26
by Emily Hill

I warned you when I posted those Mounds pudding cookies that I’d be back with more pudding cookie recipes. I’ve already tried chocolate peanut butter pudding cookies and red velvet pudding cookies, so why not try a pistachio pudding mix for some salted dark chocolate pistachio pudding cookies.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Puddnig Cookies -- the combination of salt, dark chocolate and hint of pistachio flavor makes these pudding cookies irresistible!

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The name is a mouthful, but so are these cookies. In the best kind of way.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Puddnig Cookies -- the combination of salt, dark chocolate and hint of pistachio flavor makes these pudding cookies irresistible!

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The pistachio pudding mix adds only the slightest hint of pistachio flavor, so if you prefer more pistachio, I’d toss in a cup or so of the chopped nuts. And if you want greener cookies, say, for St. Patrick’s Day, add a few drops of green food coloring. Or do both and see just how magical these cookies can be.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Puddnig Cookies -- the combination of salt, dark chocolate and hint of pistachio flavor makes these pudding cookies irresistible!


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Printable recipe for salted dark chocolate pistachio pudding cookies below. Enjoy!
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Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Pudding Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
If you like a hint of pistachio flavor combined with sea salt and dark chocolate, you'll love these salted dark chocolate pistachio pudding cookies. Makes approximately 3½ dozen.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios (optional)
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in instant pudding mix until blended. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chunks and pistachios.
  5. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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We Switched From Tempur-Pedic to intelliBED Faster Than You Can Say “Sweet Dreams”

2015 February 20
by Emily Hill

Disclosure: Though intelliBED provided us with a Relief Perfect bed, we purchased the Tempur-Pedic all by ourselves and regretted every minute of sleep on that thing. Post may include affiliate links.
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This is the first of a series of posts sharing why we switched from Tempur-Pedic to intelliBED and discovered how intelliBED is perfecting the science of sleep . . .
or the science sweet dreams.

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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After 14 years—and countless restless nights accompanied by countless aches and pains—it was time to replace our old-school pillow top mattress. But which mattress should we buy? I know! Let’s ask friends and family on Facebook. Crowdsourcing is perfect in this type of situation.

But not this time. Our “crowd” told us Tempur-Pedic was the way to go.

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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And it so wasn’t. And I so posted this on Facebook the next morning:

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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Most of the replies were along the lines of “give it a few weeks” and “it can take about 30 days.” Funny story. The sales guy at the store even told us he had to rotate the mattress and sleep on his wife’s side for a few weeks as she was much lighter than he and needed help breaking it in.

Funny in a “we no longer own a Tempur-Pedic” kind of way.

But then I came across these comments:

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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I started to wonder if we’d chosen the wrong mattress. I was intrigued by this intelliBED with its magical intelli-GEL but figured we ought to give that Tempur-Pedic a couple more weeks . . . even though I have a firm belief it shouldn’t take more than a few days to get used to a new mattress.

Well into our second week we were wishing we had our old mattress back never mind its permanent valleys on either side. That’s when we decided it was time to learn more about intelliBED. The more we read, the more we felt buying an intelliBED mattress would be a genius move on our part. Why? Because intelliBED has lots of amazing features (you can read more about them here) but a few really sold me:

  • Completely non-toxic (google “memory foam off-gassing” for fun; you’ll see why in the second video I make a point of how uncool it was my pj’s and pillowcase smelled like memory foam)
  • Best pressure relief (great for my side sleeping)
  • Best back support (super important for Nathan)
  • 30-year warranty (YES, 30 YEARS!)
  • 60-day risk-free trial (how else can you tell if you like a mattress?)

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We were more than ready to switch, and because we thought there may be others out there feeling the same, we thought it would be fun to share a bit of our story.
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And even more fun (lots more fun!) to share the top 5 reasons we dislike Tempur-Pedic and the joy I experienced the day our intelliBED Relief Perfect mattress arrived.

Who knew American Authors would understand exactly how I felt?
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After three weeks on that Tempur-Pedic, this was the happiest thing to pull into my driveway since the UPS man delivered my red Italian leather boots.

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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And this was the happiest thing I’d seen in my office since Nathan set me up with two monitors.

Goodbye, Tempur-Pedic. Don’t let the door hit your box spring on the way out.

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Tempurpedic vs intelliBED - why we switched to intelliBED faster than you can say Sweet Dreams
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Stay tuned as we share more of our story  including our meeting with intelliBED founder Bob Rasmussen (he sheds some light on this whole “perfecting the science of sleep” thing) and what we really thought of our first couple weeks on that crazy awesome intelli-GEL.

Until then, you should probably switch out whatever mattress you have for an intelliBED, especially since I get to offer ITRML readers 10% OFF your intelliBED purchase. For reals. Plus if you buy a mattress by February 28th, you’ll get a set of Dream Fit Bamboo Cotton Quilted Sheets ($250 value) with your purchase. Talk about sweet dreams! Just click the image below or go to http://bit.ly/buyintelliBED and use code ISTHISREALLYMYLIFE.

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intelliBED coupon code for February
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Like the quote on that page says, buy an intelliBED. Now.

You can thank me later.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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V8 Makes a Tasty Move With New Protein Bars and Shakes + GIVEAWAY

2015 February 19
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of V8 Protein. All opinions are 100% mine.

Yep, I’m one of those who actually enjoyed drinking a can of the original V8—you know, the one that was fully loaded tomato juice. Then came their V8 Splash line and I was hooked on the Berry Blend. Now V8 has a new line of V8 Protein shakes and bars and I’m once again a fan.
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It’s kind of nice when you can curb those cravings and get a boost of energy from ingredients you’re familiar with like honey and brown rice. For example, V8 Protein Shakes blend dairy, soy, pea, brown rice and quinoa proteins with sweet honey and sugar for a great on-the-go (i.e., late-for-the-gym) breakfast. V8 Protein Bars blend soy protein, nuts, oats and spices so you have a delicious snack during those crazy busy hours between lunch and dinner. The protein shakes come in Chocolate, Vanilla and Chocolate Raspberry. They offer 12 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, a quarter cup of vegetables and as much calcium and Vitamin D as a glass of milk…all without high fructose corn syrup.

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V8 Protein Shakes review
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Let’s take a closer look at all that V8 goodness…

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V8 Protein Shakes review

V8 Protein Shakes review
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Did you catch that part about as much fiber as a cup of kale? I would SO much rather get my fiber via a delicious chocolate protein shake (and the chocolate is definitely my favorite) than a cup of kale, but maybe that’s just me. Now for those V8 Protein bars. Those babies come in Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Pomegranate and Oatmeal Raisin. They provide 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and a quarter cup of vegetables and taste great without the addition of high fructose corn syrup.

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V8 Protein Bars review
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Let’s zoom in a bit…

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V8 Protein Bars review

V8 Protein Bars review
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The Oatmeal Raisin was for sure my favorite. It tasted just like a frosted oatmeal cookie but slightly less decadent. I find it the perfect snack between breakfast and lunch on spin class days. It helps battle crazy snack cravings, which is good because my freezer always seems to have a batch of cookies hidden in its depths. It would be worth your time to learn more about V8 Protein bars and shakes. They just may be the energy you’ve been looking for. Nothing but good stuff in those bars and shakes. V8 Protein Bars and shakes can be purchased online on Amazon (Buy now!). You can also find them in your local store’s health and beauty aisles.
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Visit Sponsors Site

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Now it’s time to give you the chance to taste the delicious new V8 Protein bars and shakes!
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One (1) lucky ITRML reader will win a V8 Protein package that includes samples of their new shakes and bars!

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You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Isopure: Whey Protein Isolate Never Tasted So Good

2015 February 16
by Emily Hill

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Isopure.

We all know protein is used to build up, keep up, and replace the tissues in your body. But it’s not just for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Your muscles, your organs, and some of your hormones are mostly protein. We have been fans of whey protein for years. Considered better for muscle building and recovery than its soy counterpart, it makes a great pre- or post-workout drink. It also makes a quick-and-easy (and healthy) breakfast option when running late for work. Just ask my husband.

But whey protein contains lactose, so if you’re sensitive to milk proteins, this can make for some serious discomfort during your workout. That’s why many people, even those who aren’t lactose intolerant, prefer whey protein isolate. And if you’re doing the isolate thing, you’ll want to do Isopure. Their products use 100% whey protein isolate, which offers the highest absorption rate, is lactose-free, low calorie and has little or no fat, impurities or carbs.

Of course there’s your whey protein isolate powders and Isopure has a plethora of options in a variety of flavors. You’ve got your Zero Carb (11 flavors), Original (3 flavors), Endurance, Mass (for the bulker-uppers) and Unflavored. They even have a Portable (20-packet boxes).

We tested the Isopure Zero Carb in Creamy Vanilla and I will say this, for a whey protein isolate that mixes with water (not my first choice), it wasn’t too bad.

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Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate Creamy Vanilla
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To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite whey protein powder (I’m more of a “peanut butter chocolate with a bit of carbs so it’s sweeter” kinda gal) but it wasn’t bad. For a gluten-, lactose- and aspartame-free powdered protein that boasts 50 grams of protein per serving, I’d say it’s fairly impressive.

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Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate Creamy Vanilla
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We tried making a bit of a shake with the Zero Carb Creamy Vanilla. We took:

  • 12 ounces of almond milk
  • 2 scoops of the whey protein isolate
  • 1 cup of frozen peaches
  • A dollop of strawberry jam (for my sweet tooth)

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Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate in Creamy Vanilla
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If we’d thrown in in a handful of ice, it would have been perfect. And I think Isopure’s Zero Carb Creamy Vanilla would make the perfect addition to any vanilla-flavored smoothie.

But by far my favorite Isopure product is Cocotein. What is Cocotein? It’s coconut water + Isopure protein. And it’s delicious.

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Isopure Cocotein Coconut Water Protein Drink
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Isopure Cocotein Coconut Water Protein Drink has an impressive 20 grams of protein per serving, is made with 21% juice and that same 100% pure whey protein isolate and is gluten free, lactose free and sugar free. All that and just 100 calories per bottle.

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Isopure Cocotein Coconut Water Protein Drink
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Cocotein comes in Tropical, Fruit Punch and Original Flavors. While each flavor is refreshing, I’m a huge fan of the Tropical. Just make sure you drink ‘em cold. They’re not bad room temperature, but they’re twice as refreshing when chilled.

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Isopure Cocotein Coconut Water Protein Drink
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Fridays are my double workout days (Pilates and Zumba) and soon I’ll be throwing some swimming into my weekly workouts. I don’t get nearly enough protein as it is, so I’ll for sure be adding Isopure Cocotein to my post workout recovery…along with a large Diet Coke around 2:00 p.m.

If you want to learn more about Isopure and their products, visit TheIsopureCompany.com. You can also find Isopure on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Mounds Pudding Cookies

2015 February 12
by Emily Hill

I’m sort of on a roll with this pudding cookie thing. I’ve made chocolate peanut butter pudding cookies and red velvet pudding cookies along with the classic recipe, so when I stumbled across both Almond Joy and Mounds instant pudding, I knew I had to give them a try.

Today I’m sharing the recipe for Mounds pudding cookies. If you love chocolate and coconut (i.e., if you love Mounds), you’re totally going to want to make these. Like, tomorrow.

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Mounds Pudding Cookies

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These Mounds pudding cookies combine fudgey Mounds-flavored instant pudding mix, semisweet chocolate chips (you could easily use dark chocolate) and coconut for a cookie that simply must be eaten immediately upon removal from the cookie sheet.

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Mounds Pudding Cookies

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Rolling them in the coconut is optional, but I loved the added coconut flavor, especially when some of the shredded coconut got all toasty.

Mmm…toasted coconut.

I’m rather enjoying mixing and matching pudding and mix-ins; I bet you’ll see a few more cookie recipes on the blog!

Printable recipe for Mounds pudding cookies below. Enjoy!
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Mounds Pudding Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
If you like Mounds candy bars and you love cookies, you'll love this Mounds-inspired take on my favorite pudding cookie recipe. Makes approximately 3½ dozen.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package instant Mounds pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in instant pudding mix until blended. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chips and 1 cup of the coconut.
  5. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough in remaining coconut and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Parkour Before There Was Parkour (or Why I Still Love Rick Astley)

2015 February 11
by Emily Hill

A friend on Facebook posted this status update last night:

hey music lovers! I heard a song while out today at a noisy restaurant. I only heard part of it but I want to know who sings it! It’s was really up beat – male vocals, and some of the lyrics were ‘never gonna run away….never gonna let you down …..’ I thought it would be super easy to find and but all my searching hasn’t turned up anything… .any ideas?

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OF COURSE I had to reply with a link to this oldie but goody even though I knew it wasn’t the song she’d heard.
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*sigh*

I had the biggest crush on Rick Astley in high school. In fact, I may have had his poster on my left closet door. (Kirk Cameron had the right.) The fact he was vertically challenged didn’t stop me from dreaming of running my fingers through his amazing red hair.
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Rick Astley
source

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After sharing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” I of course had to make my teenagers watch it with me, which brought back some pretty great high school memories. And reminded me why I still love him.

I may have even jumped up and busted a few moves against my daughters’ wishes.

But the best part of watching “Never Gonna Give You Up” was the commentary running through my head. It was like a mashup of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Pop Up Video and it went something like what you see below. (You’re welcome.)

Make sure you watch the video while reading. It’s a heck of a lot more fun that way. You can pop it open in a new window or tab by clicking here.
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0:06 What is with the hands? Oh wait, that’s part of his signature move.
0:12 Oh. My. Gosh. Denim on denim. Isn’t that totally in style again?
0:13 Those jeans may be high waisted but man, he’s still totally hot. I believe my daughters would call him a “ginger.”
0:15 Who the heck is this blonde chick and what’s the point of her dancing in front of that brick wall? Oh wait, this is an 80s video.
0:24 Yep. Signature move. I’m pretty sure it was Taylor Swift’s inspiration for “Shake It Off.”
0:29 He still has an amazingly sexy deep voice.
0:46 I’m totally digging that old-school mic.
0:55 That’s right, random bartender. It’s impossible not to dance.
1:13 Maybe that’s the only move he knows? It’s okay. I like it.
1:35 Was that one of the earliest appearances of the running man?
1:57 Wait, where did this blonde kid come from? He better be wearing denim.
1:59 He is totally wearing denim.
2:03 Wait, can you show me that move one more time?
2:07 Is that the bartender? Why the heck is he jumping into a chain-link fence while wearing skin-tight denim shorts? Oh wait, this is an 80s video.
2:14 That’s like the fourth shadow dancing scene. Oh wait, this is an 80s video.
2:21 Did you see that super slick move where he showed me his heart? Yeah, that.
2:26 He totally stuck that landing! I’d give him a 10.0!
2:41 What exactly am I watching here? And why am I laughing so hard?
2:46 DUDE! They were doing parkour before there was parkour! And in freakishly tight denim shorts!
2:52 Oh my. The dance combo isn’t over yet.
2:54 She’s totally checking out his butt!
2:58 It’s like Rick knows how ridiculous that dance set is…
3:30 No, Rick! Don’t go! I love you, Rick!

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I may have gone on to watch another half dozen music videos, all from the 80s. The only one I wish I could erase from my memory is Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical.” No wonder my mom wouldn’t let me watch that video when it was first released. I may have heard, “MOM! What the heck are you WATCHING?!” from Lauren at about 0:08.

Lauren, I was wondering the exact same thing.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Poblano Mac and Cheese

2015 February 10
by Emily Hill

I love a good recipe off a soup can and this poblano mac and cheese does not disappoint. I was perusing the canned soups (don’t judge) when I stumbled across Campbell’s Condensed Creamy Poblano & Queso soup.

The label had me at queso.

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Poblano Mac and Cheese -- one of my favorite recipes using condensed soup. So creamy with a bit of kick. Yum! Must make this ASAP.

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My kids are super picky when it comes to mac and cheese. I’ve tried making homemade mac and cheese many times. They’re favorite recipe is this gourmet macaroni and cheese, but they also loved this crock pot mac and cheese.

That last one is super yummy with a dash or two of sriracha. Mmm…

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Poblano Mac and Cheese -- one of my favorite recipes using condensed soup. So creamy with a bit of kick. Yum! Must make this ASAP.

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This poblano mac and cheese is one of the easiest macaroni and cheese recipes I’ve made to date. I liked the flavor as is but you can tweak it according to your preferences. Don’t like tomatoes? Leave ‘em out. Want it a bit spicier? Try substituting half the cheddar Jack cheese with pepper Jack or adding some diced green chilies or jalapenos. Want to make it prettier? Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro…something I totally forgot to do for these photos.

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Poblano Mac and Cheese -- one of my favorite recipes using condensed soup. So creamy with a bit of kick. Yum! Must make this ASAP.

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I doubled the recipe for our family and had plenty serving it as a main dish. If you’re going to serve it as a side, you could probably get away with a single batch.

Enjoy!
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Poblano Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This smooth, creamy, cheesy mac and cheese recipe uses Campbell's Condensed Creamy Poblano & Queso Soup with some added fresh ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 T salted butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (10¾ ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Creamy Poblano & Queso Soup
  • ¾ cup skim milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
  • ½ a package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the tomato and garlic and cook for another minute. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Stir in soup and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add cheese; Stir until melted. Fold in the macaroni. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
Notes
Inspired by Campbell's Creamy Poblano Mac & Cheese recipe: http://www.campbellskitchen.com/recipes/creamy-poblano-mac-cheese-61797.

 
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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should totally browse my recipes from the blog Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board recipes from the blog on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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